08ASTANA1220, KAZAKHSTAN – SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE SEEKS FURTHER USG

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08ASTANA1220 2008-07-08 11:17 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO1699
PP RUEHLN RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHTA #1220/01 1901117
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 081117Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2706
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 0552
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 1924
RUEHAST/USOFFICE ALMATY 0539

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 001220 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/CEN, DRL/PHD 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM EAID KZ
 
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN - SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE SEEKS FURTHER USG 
COOPERATION ON JUDICIAL REFORM 
 
ASTANA 00001220  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
1. (SBU) On June 18, Ambassador Ordway and USAID Regional Director 
Bill Frej attended the opening ceremony for a USAID-funded courtroom 
recording system in Astana.  The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court 
of Kazakhstan, Kairat Mami, attended as well.  After the ceremony 
and a brief demonstration, Mami met with the Ambassador and the 
USAID Regional Director.  In the meeting, he asked for ideas on how 
to expand and continue the USG-Kazakhstan partnership in judicial 
reform.  The USAID Regional Director proposed a framework based on 
the highly successful USAID Program for Economic Development (PED) 
which is co-financed by both governments.  Mami was extremely 
interested in the idea and asked for a proposal as follow up to the 
meeting.  End Summary. 
 
BACKGROUND AND OPENING CEREMONY 
-------------------------------- 
 
2. (U) The opening ceremony in Astana was part of USAID's Kazakhstan 
Judicial Assistance Project (KJAP), which, in cooperation with the 
Supreme Court, is supporting the modernization of the judiciary. 
Based on a highly successful pilot program in Almaty in 2005, the 
KJAP is now working with its judicial partners to expand the use of 
court room video recording systems to every Kazakhstani oblast.  The 
expansion will continue increasing the judiciary's transparency, 
accountability, and effectiveness; it also has the goal of creating 
a stronger and more independent judiciary as well as increasing 
citizen demand for a fair and transparent judicial system that 
responds to their needs. 
 
3. (U) The KJAP ensures that a complete and accurate record of the 
trial exists, thus creating confidence among citizens that their 
trials were conducted properly and impartially.  Seventy-three 
percent of citizens who participated in a recorded trial reported 
that they have more trust in courts that use the video recording 
equipment than those that do not.  Ninety-three percent of all court 
staff using the equipment support its use in all courts in 
Kazakhstan. Increased confidence and satisfaction was also shown in 
the drop in appeal rates for recorded cases, as non-recorded cases 
were three times more likely to be appealed. 
 
4.  (U) Over the next year and a half, the KJAP and the Supreme 
Court's Administration Committee will install video recording 
systems into at least 27 courts, train court staff in their usage, 
and oversee their operation.  These 27 courts will include 14 oblast 
courts, the city courts of Almaty and Astana, and several rayon 
courts.  The systems will include voice-disguising features to 
protect the identity of witnesses.  This expansion includes a 
considerable cost share from the Supreme Court and represents a 
nascent political will for judicial reform.  USAID has been 
developing this relationship for several years and the June 18 
meeting should lead to more opportunities for partnership in areas 
of even more extensive judicial reform. 
 
THE MEETING 
----------- 
 
5. (SBU) The meeting began with Chief Justice Mami thanking the 
Ambassador and the USAID Regional Director for their assistance 
helping Kazakhstan equip its courtrooms.  He noted that he was 
extremely pleased with the project and that he would like to hear 
what the Ambassador and USAID Regional Director thought about future 
cooperation.  He said he was prepared to listen to any and all 
ideas. 
 
6. (SBU) The USAID Regional Director brought up the Program for 
Economic Development (PED).  He noted that USAID's economic office 
and the Ministry of Economy and Budget planning have had excellent 
success with the model.  He explained that the program was a 
four-year $40 million bilateral agreement, designed to promote 
development and diversification of Kazakhstan's economy.  He noted 
that in the PED, USG funding decreases over time, while the 
Kazakhstani government's funding increases.  The USAID Regional 
Director said that this model could easily be applied in the 
judicial reform area, adding that USAID was looking at such a model 
in the health sector. 
 
7. (SBU) In response, Chief Justice Mami expressed pride in the fact 
that Kazakhstan has been leading in judicial reform in Central Asia 
for many years.  He noted that Kazakhstan has so far been the only 
country in the region to implement jury trials and set up modern 
court procedures.  Mami expressed support for the USAID Regional 
Director's proposal.  He said that he liked the idea of the PED 
program and that future cooperation should involve a PED-like 
format.  He was excited that this could be a model for judicial 
 
ASTANA 00001220  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
reform and said that he would personally like to be involved with 
showing it off to other countries.  He concluded by mentioning that 
Kazakhstan is moving forward on WTO accession, and that perhaps 
judicial training to help with WTO membership migh
t be a starting 
point for future cooperation. 
 
REASONS FOR FURTHER COOPERATION ON JUDICIAL REFORM 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
 
8. (SBU) From the Kazakhstani perspective, concrete steps beyond 
what they have begun with the KJAP will need to continue if they are 
truly interested in furthering their integration into the global 
legal community.  As Kazakhstan continues to embrace the challenges 
of operating in compliance with the full range of international 
legal obligations, further reforms will be necessary.   Kazakhstan 
will also face a number of mandatory improvements if its desired 
membership in the WTO is to occur.  WTO membership requires a 
judiciary with predictable and transparent court proceedings for 
businesses. 
 
9. (SBU) While the aforementioned reasons are important to the USG, 
cooperating with the Supreme Court also presents an opportunity to 
advance our public relations.  In Central Asia, it is very rare that 
the USG has an opportunity to partner with a host government on a 
development project.  It is even rarer that they partner together on 
something related to democracy and governance.  In addition to 
providing assistance at a critical moment when Kazakhstan is asking, 
a positive and significant USG response for further cooperation 
could go a long way to further relations with Kazakhstan and the 
region. 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
10. (SBU) Both the Ambassador and the USAID Regional Director were 
extremely impressed and pleased with Chief Justice Mami and his 
desire for future partnership.  While it remains to be seen how far 
and deep the reforms will go, this is the first indication from a 
high source that the Government of Kazakhstan is interested in 
receiving USG assistance for help in reforming its judiciary.  Post 
looks forward to continued engagement on this highly important 
issue.  End Comment. 
 
ORDWAY

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